Product Type: Electronic Arts PC games
Newest Review: ... I recommend at least the following to be able to enjoy this game: 600Mhz Processor 128MB RAM 32MB Graphics Card with Direct 3D Su... more
Member Name: thecoin
F1 Championship Season 2000 (PC)
Date: 01/02/01, updated on 02/02/01 (239 review reads)
Advantages: Read On
Disadvantages: Read On
Many game players may be put off by the fact that EA have released this game just 8 months after releasing the original. Many feel that EA should have developed a patch for the original rather than go out and produce a so called new game and release that forcing consumers to pay out an extra £30 on top of what they had already paid for F12K. I would agree in principal with that arguement as I find this game has put right everything that was wrong with F12K (like a patch would) but has also added new features, which I will come onto later in my review. There was that many things wrong with F12K though that perhaps it was better that EA started from scratch and developed a whole new game.
This game as with the original is a simulation of the 2000 FIA Formula One World Championship featuring all the cars, drivers and circuits from it. The original game was released before the start of the 2000 season so many things that were to be included in the 2000 Championship weren't in the game such as the changes to the first and second chicanes at Monza and the changes to the pit lane entrances at Suzuka and Interlagos. Also throughout the season the teams made various changes to their cars liveries, these have all been replicated down to the finest detail in the game.
In my review of F12K I was highly critical of EA's modelling of the various circuits on the F1 calendar. Especially I found Spa to be appallingly designed in the game. Thankfully EA have seemed to take the criticisms on board and have totally re-designed most of the tracks in the new game. The modelling of the Spa circuit is now the best modelling of it
I’ve seen in any driving game I’ve ever played with the circuit on it. The Eau Rouge section of the circuit is now extremely challenging and it is actually now very difficult to go right the way through it without lifting off which is always the challenge for the real F1 drivers when they visit Spa. Another challenging corner in real life F1, the 130R at Suzuka has also been re-modelled and is in my opinion a more difficult corner to get through without lifting than EA Rouge as it is just one quite tight left hand bend hit at around 180 mph. When going through corners such as this you get a real sense of speed unlike you do on this games main competitor Grand Prix 3.
The AI was appalling in F12K to say the least; thankfully it has been improved massively by EA and really does make the game enthralling to play. I have had some brilliant battles in races on this game and rather than getting knocked off by a competitor or ending up being taken out in a multi car pile up I can now have a proper race. On the options menu screen EA have given you the option to turn competitors percentages up or down for how well they will perform. I found this to be a very useful option as I could tweak the AI’s performance using the percentage option so they where of a similar performance to me meaning I could always have close races rather than either be right at the back because they where too good for me or right at the front because they where too slow which is what normally happens in other games. As I improve my driving I can put the performance of the AI up so I can always have good close racing. The aggression option is also very useful as if you leave it at the default the drivers are quite easy to pass where as if you increase the aggression the AI drivers can become very difficult to pass and tactics really come into your driving and you really do have to work hard to get past people. A good thing about the aggression option is that all the drivers
have been modelled similar to what they are like in real life, so for example Jacques Villenauve is a lot more difficult to pass than say Gaston Mazzacane. The one thing that still isn’t improved from the original with the AI is that no matter what percentage you put their performance and aggression to you always seem to get a better start than all of them and can make up a lot of places on the run down to the first corner. In saying that though it is like that on nearly every driving game I’ve ever played.
On the graphical front the game has been hugely improved over the first one. I have to say I have upgraded my system since I had F12K(my system wasn’t on the slow side before) and F1CS2K runs extremely smoothly on it where as F12K didn’t. I havn’t heard or read many complaints about other people having problems with F1CS2K on the graphical and frame rate front even with with less powerful computers so I think that EA have done a great job with it. On my computer now even if I turn all the graphical details up to the highest option the game will still run with a good frame rate even in a race situation when there can be 22 cars on the screen all at one time. This is unlike the original which began to struggle to run even if there was 2-3 cars on the screen at one time. I find on the graphical side that this game now far surpasses Grand Prix 3’s graphics which where extremely 2D and hadn’t been improved much from the graphics that were seen in Grand Prix 2. The cars look immaculate when running on full detail levels and objects such as trees, walls etc look extremely well done.
The driving model has much improved on the one that was in F12K. Where as in the original EA didn’t employ any real F1 drivers to test out the driving model, in F1CS2K they have done employing Jos Verstappen to test it out. The car now feels like a real F1 car should feel which is nervous and twitchy and it is a real task when
first starting to play to find your breaking points for corners. When I first played the game I had numerous trips into gravel traps as there is no more of this brake as late as possible for a corner and still manage to skid around it, if you slam your brakes on hard now the back end just goes straight away and your put into a series of spins.
As I said right at the start of my review EA have added a couple of new features to F1CS2K which really enhances the gameplay. A wet weather option has been added, this was sorely missed in the original game as racing in the wet is a huge part of Grand Prix racing nowadays. The wet weather racing has been modelled superbly with braking distances doubled for corners and with it being easy to slide off the circuit if you just put the power down to early on exiting a corner. I don’t feel the model is as good as Grand Prix 3’s though as you can’t get changeable weather like in Grand Prix 3 and a dry line can never appear. This is something that I would really like to see be put into F12001. The other new feature which has been added is a Driving School. Now if you’re a veteran simulation racer or a new comer this really can help you. You are given tasks on three different circuits which you are to undertake. You are taken through each task by a computer driver before you do it yourself and each type of corner is explained to you as you go through it. Once you have been shown how to do it it’s your turn and you do each task in the Arrows two seater car. Each task is timed and depending on how long it takes you to do it you get awarded a gold, silver or bronze medal or even nothing at all if you are to slow. Once you finish your course at each circuit you are given a certificate to say how well you have/havn’t done.
As for the rest of the game the menu's are similar to in F12000 and are very easy to use. Commentry is provided by ITV presenter Jim Rosenthal before each race m
eeting and gives you an in depth look at the circuit the race is being held at. One problem is with your on board radio as your mechanic often tells you who's going in and out of the pits and if your battling at the front with the likes of Hakkinen and Michael Schumacher do you really care if Gaston Mazzacane's going in the pits!?The sound in the game has been superbly done and really does sound like a real F1 car with a faboulous roar to it.When your on the grid before the start of a race you really do feel as though you actually at the real Grand Prix as the noise is deafening.
And that’s it, I would thoroughly recommend you buy this game even if you have the original and where un-impressed. Even if you are a big Grand Prix 3 fan I would recommend this game as you will be surprised at how good it actually is. There are many people already making add-ons for this game such as the new 2001 liveries and updating the sponsorship boards at the different tracks, all information on updates can be found in the F1CS2K forum at www.simracingnews.com/. In Grand Prix 3 Indianapolis and Sepang have been made for the game but the problem is that there where only 16 races in the 1998 season which is what the game is based on whilst in the 2001 season there will be 17 Grand Prix’s. The problem with that is that one of the original Grand Prix 3 tracks has to be written over in order for either Sepang or Indianapolis to run as Grand Prix three won’t allow you to run a 17 race season. In F1CS2K it already has 17 races in it as that’s how many were in the 2000 season so no track editor needs to be built as there won’t be any new tracks in this years championship.
Finally EA are planning to release F12001 in April but my advice would be to wait to wait for F1CS2001 at the end of the season as that game will be a more accurate simulation of the 2001 season.
This opinion only covers the PC game as I hear that the Playstati
on 1 and 2 versions aren't anywhere near as good as the PC version.